TV Personality Turned YouTube Entrepreneur Danilo Acquisto Reveals Why Online Video Is Killing Traditional Broadcasting

Danilo Acquisto is the CEO of Special Effects Media South Africa, the only official YouTube partner in the country. He started his media career when he became one of the three inaugural winners of SABC’s Presenter Search. Today, he’s a presenter on Afternoon Express on SABC3 with Jeannie D and Bonnie Mbuli and is also a radio show host on Good Hope FM on the weekends. Danilo will be speaking at Heavy Chef on the 10th April in Johannesburg and in Cape Town on the 17th April. His team will be presenting two in-depth morning Masterclasses on the 11th (JHB) and on the 18th (CPT) April. Fred Roed managed to catch up with Danilo in between appointments in this young dynamo's crazy-busy schedule. 

Fred Roed: What interested you in the world of online video creation - enough to make you start your own business focusing on it? 
Danilo Acquisto: I have presented on some of the biggest shows on television and getting into the TV industry is virtually impossible. The limitations on broadcast opportunities and the creative freedom drove me to empower young creatives to start their own broadcast platforms to inevitably produce better content for the world to consume. Plus, to be able to actually measure the success of campaigns based on real data is attractive.

The online channels coming out of SA, and Africa, seem like they are in their infancy. Do you think traditional broadcasters should be concerned about the threat of this latent channel? 
This is not entirely true. There are channels in SA and Africa that have bigger audiences than most traditional broadcasters and with engagements through the roof. The budding new channels will become a threat to traditional broadcast as audiences begin to want more choice and control and turn to digital platforms to consume what they want to consume and when they want it. TV won't die any time soon but its influence on the market may. See it as an ecosystem.

Are businesses utilising YouTube as much as they could in South Africa? - and if not, how could they be more proactive? How can they use YouTube more effectively for their organisations? 
The fact of the matter is that of the approximately 22 million internet users in SA, around 8.5 million of them are on YouTube. These are millennials and others who spend their time scrolling through content they want to consume. If businesses want to engage these masses then YouTube is vital as they are not going to be found on other platforms. It's the 2nd largest search engine in the world. Are brands using it wisely? no... There are so many possibilities with YouTube and it is being under utilised simply because there is so much to know and getting someone to manage all social media accounts is virtually impossible. Brands need to consider doing work with influencers to build brand confidence and producing content that consumers want to consume as opposed to content pushing product.

201804-Heavy-Chef-Danilo-Acquisto.jpg

The fact of the matter is that of the approximately 22 million internet users in SA, around 8.5 million of them are on YouTube.

How has being a TV celebrity given you the right perspective on advising YouTube Creators - both corporate and individuals? 
At 27 it sounds weird, but I am the past of the celebrity world and the digital broadcasters are the present and the future. I have learned about what it takes to build a brand, to understand the way the traditional media approaches content and to be able to infiltrate that and point it in the right direction- towards ROI, engaged audiences and exciting content. Broadcast is broadcast and the same rules apply: produce world class content, stand out and be consistent.

What exciting channels do you see being created out of SA? 
The beauty of YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world is that we are able to determine what South Africans are searching. A big trend at the moment in South Africa is music and I am waiting in anticipation for someone to approach me with an exciting music channel. Get ready for some skit channels, comedy channels and educational channels. It is all coming on top of the amazing vlogging, beauty, review and entertainment channels that are dominating the space.

Thanks Danilo, we can't wait for the events next week! 

Heavy Chef readers - book your seats here.